Hockey, Trump And bin Laden

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - May 11, 2011
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If Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman had any idea who I am or resided on Oahu so he could enjoy the free weekly mailing of this fine product - a shameless plug, I admit - then he may be rightly concerned about getting any level of support in this space.

After all, it was just a week ago that the crack Hot Air editorial team declared the Red Wings a serious Cup contender. Detroit repaid this confidence by nearly pulling the inglorious quadruple double, sweeping one team before being swept by the next. But that’s a risk the Hall of Famer is forced to take.

The Lightning’s four game destruction of Washington says as much about Tampa’s progression in the playoffs as it does about the Capitals’ annual post-season collapse. With six-time all-star Martin St. Louis, center Vincent Lecavalier and sophomore Steven Stamkos, Yzerman’s guys can light the lamp. But it is the improved play of goalie Dwayne Roloson that has led the team to seven straight wins. That, and Washington’s annual April choke job. The veteran net minder, who has a 214-241-42 career mark with six teams, leads full-time playoff goalies with a 2.01 goals against average and .941 save percentage, which are big improvements over his regular season numbers of 2.59 and .914 respectively. That he has faced a playoff high 389 shots is even more impressive.

Tampa will face either Boston or Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference finals, and Roloson is going to need more help on the defensive end as the pair of possible opponents (as of May 5) have put a combined 722 shots on goal.

* At last, some good news.

Egoestate developer Donald Trump has declined, after accepting, the offer to be the celebrity pace car driver at the Indianapolis 500. Thank God for the 18,130 people who “liked” the We Don’t Want Donald Trump to Drive the Indy 500 Pace Car Facebook page, or whoever is responsible. Trump said he made the decision because of scheduling problems and because he thought it was inappropriate for him to do so while continuing the farce that he is considering a run for president. Whatever. At least he is gone.

The idea of Trump filling this unimportant position was a bad one from the start. The so-called Greatest Spectacle in Racing has seen its popularity tank over the last decade and is looking for anyone or anything to generate interest. How an overhyped media whore is going to reverse this trend is anyone’s guess.

Celebrities are nothing new at Indy. For years the pace car driver (on the starting lap and not during cautions) has been made up of celebrities and former drivers. In recent years the job has gone to Gen. Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong, Emerson Fittipaldi and, for some unexplainable reasons, Josh Duhamel, Robin Roberts and Patrick Dempsy. What the ... ??!!

No one they put in the 2011 Camaro is, by himor herself, going to suddenly rescue the race from the abysmal plain of ratings, but the iconic race is celebrating its 100th anniversary and this is not the time for cheap gimmicks. A. J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears have each won a record four races at Indy and their inclusion would properly honor the race’s history. Plus, at a combined age of 268, the trio may not be around much longer to take part in such an event.

* One last note: Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has largely been treated as a pariah following his Twitter posting questioning people’s reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death and the attack on the World Trade Center. While the ire of his critics is understandable, it would be wrong to paint Mendenhall a complete nut job or totally un-American. In fact, remove his “We’ve only heard one side ...” and his comments pose a thoughtful, ethical and spiritual argument: Is it proper to celebrate the death of another human even if that person is evil?

There was something unsettling about seeing thousands of Americans take to the streets in actions that were eerily similar to the anti-U.S. demonstrations we’ve seen in other countries. Don’t get me wrong - bin Laden is dead and that’s a good, perhaps a great thing. But dancing on the grave of one’s enemy is hardly a display of morality. We should be better than that.

Mendenhall also tweeted, “I believe in God. I believe we are all his children. And I believe he is the one and only judge. Those who judge others will also be judged themselves.” If that is a true expression of his religious beliefs, then it would be hypocritical had he followed the masses and celebrated the terrorist’s death. Then again, hypocrisy thrives in the dogma of the masses.

As far as him not believing what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, well, that club has a few million members.

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